Thursday, September 29, 2022

FLW Home & Studio Tour and Hemingway's Bistro Oak Park

FLW Home & Studio Tour followed by Hemingway's Bistro dinner - two venerable Oak Park institutions

I conducted a public-private tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio in Oak Park, IL, which I do regularly as a Docent Interpreter for the FLW Trust

On this occasion, we hosted several friends, three AXO sorority sisters couples, for the Home and Studio interior tour, then the neighborhood walking tour, followed by a gala dinner at Hemingway's Bistro, one of our favorite French cuisine eateries.

We started with a round of their fresh oysters, followed by their delectable crab and corn bisque soup. With these the group enjoyed the house Champagne.

For the dinner entree course, all in the group except me ordered the daily special Walleye or the Crusted Whitefish, both served with their delectable beure blanc sauce. 

 Campet Ste Marie Chardonnay 2020

We ordered from the carefully selected winelist a bottle French Chardonnay to pair with the fish course. 

This Pays d'Oc wine is from Limoux in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France, along the Mediterranean coast to Provence. It is named after the specific terroirs on which the grapes are grown, sourced from small and hilly vineyards, that the French call “Campets”. These “Campets” and the Mediterranean climate offer ideal conditions for the production of ripe and fruit forward wines. 

This is a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Picpoul white grapes, popular in the region.

Winemaker's Notes: "Limestone and clay soils coalesce on steep, rolling hills to make up the soil, but it is specifically the cooler areas of the vineyard, which contribute to creating their burgundy- style chardonnay. Each year, a proportion of the wine ages on wood for approximately six months, with regular battonage, to enhance the texture, the aromatic character and overall balance of the wine. The soil composition gives the wine structural acidity and makes this Burgundy-style wine unique. "

This was nice pleasant easy drinking - ideal for the pairing with the fresh fish entrees - a great value high QPR (quality price ratio). 

Straw colored, medium light bodied, aromatic, crisp, floral and stone fruit notes accent apple and pear with subtle lime citrus. 

RM 89.

I brought a BYOB from our cellar a couple of bottles - a Rhone and a Bordeaux, from which to I selected one to pair with my dinner entree. 

I chose the La Croix de Beaucaillou 2000 to accompany with my dinner entree selection, Strip Steak au Povre, with their delectable scalloped potatoes, creamed spinach and tomato (shown).

La Croix de Beaucaillou St Julien Bordeaux 2000

This was very timely as just yesterday I was notified by Binny's, the Chicagoland beverage supertore that my futures order of the current release of this wine just arrived for pickup. 

Our visit to Château Ducru Beaucaillou in St Julien was one of the highlights our Bordeaux St Julien Wine Experience in 2019

We've collected the Grand Vin Château Ducru Beaucaillou for more than three decades going back to the late seventies. We declared it one of the signature wines of son Ryan and served his birthyear vintage from large format bottles at his wedding. It was sharing that declaration and experience that prompted the Chateau to invite us for a private tour during our trip to the appellation. 

I wrote about the history and current portfolio of producer Jean Eugène Borie SA in my blogpost at that time. Today, the estate is managed by the Jean Eugène Borie SA, the company owned by Mrs Borie, her daughter Sabine Coiffe and her son Bruno-Eugène, who took over as CEO in 2003. He is the third generation of the Borie family to head the estate which has been closely held for five generations over two centuries. 

The magnificent Château sits on a promontory overlooking classic formal gardens with the Gironde estuary in the distance. The Victorian-style Ducru-Beaucaillou castle is built directly above the original barrel cellars, adjacent the new modern era barrel facility. enveloping its owners, who have lived here for over sixty years.

This is Château Ducru Beaucaillou's second wine, made from the property's younger vines and vats that are not selected for the grand vin. This wine has been bottled at the château since the 1995 vintage. La Croix de Beaucaillou, generally contains more Merlot than the grand vin - this release was 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot.

Winemaker Notes: "The wine of Ducru-Beaucaillou is the essence of elegance, symmetry, balance, breed, class, and distinction. it is never one of the most robust, richest, or fruitiest wines of St.-Julien and by its nature is a stubbornly slow developer. Most of the finest vintages of Ducru-Beaucaillou usually take at least 10 years to reveal their stunning harmony of fruit and power.'

'Ducru-Beaucaillou is a great wine for a number of reasons. The meticulous attention to detail, the brutal selection process - whereby only the finest grapes and finest barrels of wine are permitted to go into the bottle - and the conservative viticultural practices all play major rules in the success of this wine."

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate awarded this 89 points.

At twenty-two years, the fill level, foil and label were in pristine condition. The cork, not surprisingly pulled in half when our server Lapone tried to extract it using a traditional waiter's cork screw, which is why I invariably use an 'ah-so' two pronged cork puller for aged bottles. Otherwise it was in good customary condition. The waitstaff appropriately decanted the bottle for serving. 

Initially this was a bit funky and earthy but, as I predicted it would, but this burned off to reveal the dark berry fruits that emerged after about 45 minutes. Dark garnet colored, a very slight bricking, brown rust hue starting to show revealing its age, medium full bodied, the dark berry fruits, Parker calls them 'red fruits', emerged accented by subtle earthy leather, tobacco and moderately sweet clove spice, with moderate smooth polished tannins on the finish. 

RM 90 points. 

This was a wonderful accompaniment to my strip steak au povre.